90210: have you learned nothing?

This is my conversation with my college roommate, that more or less summarizes this episode (we were actually talking about brothers and sisters but i was watching this at the time and couldn’t help but comment):

me: you know, if someone told me that a guy was a rapist, even if i didn’t believe the person who told me, i probably wouldn’t go over to that guy’s house all by myself. especially if they’re a teacher
because a teacher inviting just you back to their house is sketchy in the first place
(sorry, i’m watching 90210 and one of the characters is being so incredibly stupid)

Lilo: haha i was just soo confused by that haha

me: basically, naomi was raped by this teacher (she’d previously spread lies about him attacking her so no one would believe her about him raping her when it actually happened). she warns silver about him because he’s silver’s adviser. he preempts her warning by saying naomi is obsessed with him. current situation: he invites silver to his house to check out this documentary he’s making and she agrees. Silver, really? I don’t care if you believe Naomi or not, doesn’t this strike you as dumb?
and silver isn’t a naive, sheltered girl. her mom was a neglectful alcoholic and she’s got a mood disorder (though she’s been fine all year).
and her sister was the school counselor! (who was almost raped fyi, back in the day of beverly hills)

me: you’d think she’d be a little smarter

Lilo: haha
yes

me: and he’s about to drug her with tea

Lilo: oh lovely

me: oh, but she might have realized. (slash a video she saw of naomi makes her think twice so she “accidentally” drops the cup)

Lilo: haha well there you have it

me: but had she not been the editor for this video capsule, it wouldn’t have occurred to her at all

The rest of the plotlines:

naomi overdoses, which we knew would happen (didn’t you learn anything from adrianna?)

the guy who is staying at ivy (you know, the one sleeping with laurel and trying to sleep with ivy) is out for revenge because laurel ruined his parent’s marriage.

ivy revealed to dixon that her father walked out on her. (this was to explain her intimacy issues and why she’s still a virgin and lied about it)

annie’s employers asked if she wanted to sell them her eggs (well, she–and i–thought they wanted to have a three way–actually, i thought they might want to have her be an escort or something)

adrianna is caught for stealing javier’s song. i can’t believe she thought she’d get away with it! (what are the odds that NO ONE heard them?) also, this whole issue with adrianna being a bad songwriter, well so what. if they think she’s talented they’ll just have someone else write her song like most people. (at the very least they’d help her by getting her a co-writer)

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$#*! My Dad Says

I’ll be honest, I didn’t even understand the premise of this show before seeing it. It doesn’t really help me to be told that it was based off of a popular twitter feed. That’s not actually a premise. But now that I’ve seen the pilot, I understand.

Henry’s lost his job and burned through his savings. Having nowhere to turn, he goes to his father to ask for a loan. The problem is he hasn’t had much of a relationship with his father (his parents got divorced when he was five) and he only ever seems to disappoint him. Ed, meanwhile, is an outspoken, grouchy old man who doesn’t know how to “build his son up.” The series, from what I understand, follows the Henry, Ed, and his brother Vince as they attempt to bond.

Seeing as I didn’t understand the show, I didn’t have much in the way of expectations. In the end, I sort of liked it but also didn’t feel like it was unique and funny enough to warrant all that much attention. It’s sort of average. Good as filler when you have nothing else to watch, but not replacing anything as a front runner.

Hellcats: Male cheerleaders, enough said.

The Hellcats are working out and the coach is arguing with someone about how her cheerleaders work just as hard as the volleyball team. What is this about?

Savannah is cutely insecure as she prepares for her first secular date. Usually they’re organized by the church and they’re done in groups…Savannah doesn’t get out that much. Marti’s surprised that she’s dating Dan of all people. She’s not the kind of girl he normally dates. He’s more party, she’s more relationship. (Marti, what are you trying to say? That she shouldn’t date him?) Savannah thinks Marti has feelings for him and offers to back off but Marti insists they’re just friends. Before the conversation can go further there’s an emergency meeting to tell the squad that their funding for regionals has been pulled because the volleyball team needs the money since they qualified in their region as well. Cheerleading isn’t recognized as a sport by the NCAA so they don’t get priority. So they have to figure out how to pay for it all themselves. (Colleges do have some money put aside for club teams, can’t they try to get at least some money there? Maybe not $10,000 but the rowing team at Brandeis raised more than that ever year.) So, the two options: 1) raise the $10,000 and go step by step (regionals, sectionals, nationals or whatever) building up their routine as they go or 2) submitting a video directly to the national committee to win a bid and get a free ride. Why don’t they do that right now? Alice says it’s because the competition is tight and Marti isn’t qualified. Coach and Savannah say Marti’s the reason they qualified to regionals in the first place but Alice says they’re just waiting for her wrist to heal. Alice pretends her wrist doesn’t hurt anymore. Marti has to run though because she has a legal seminar. Alice says Marti’s just using them for scholarships.

Marti screeches up to her seminar which is already in progress. She gets called out about how being late hurts her credibility for the judge and jury. The professor has a “lost cause” case to get a man out of jail who is supposed to be going in for life. It’s the kind of project that looks good on your resume to grad school. Better have the time to do it, he warns. So Marti angrily signs her name. (You show him!)

Alice tries getting up for a stunt but it hurts her wrist too much. What’s her name says she’s pushing herself in order to be with Louis. If you can’t fool me how are you going to fool a doctor? So naturally she has a BRILLIANT solution. Alice goes to flirt with some guy on the football team. She says she broke up with Louis. He and Louis used to be best friends but something happened that she doesn’t know about. She wants his help to pass medical. He can get her what she needs, they’ll discuss the cost over dinner. Sex for drugs?

Marti discusses the case with her professor. Though she’s clearly done her homework, he dismisses her because she’s a cheerleader. He thinks she’s overextended. It would be too risky to place her on his team. She promises she’ll impress him. He’ll give her one shot. A side assignment that must be kept quiet.

Vanessa unhappily runs into the football coach but he’s not letting her get away that easily. Is this a game for him? She was a student having an affair with a faculty member, that’s why she didn’t tell Derek. He thinks she’s keeping her options open. He’s such a sleaze. I don’t find anything even mildly attractive about him.

Savannah is panicking and wants Marti to cancel the date for her. How could a player like Dan be attracted to someone like her? Marti says she’ll help. She needs a break from her assignment which she can’t seem to manage. Solution to her knots? The whole team came. (Savannah, you are not wearing the dress you tried on earlier.) Dan looks a little shell-shocked but is nice enough about it. Marti tells him to behave and not hurt Savannah. Savannah’s so awkward it’s cute. Louis decides to solve the problem by giving her alcohol.

Football coach, Red, and Vanessa BF “run into each other” at the bar and Red suggests a couple beers together. Serious creep. (Smarmier than Carter.)

Savannah is getting drunk. Dan tries to warn her to slow down. Then she starts to talk about how sexy Marti is so Marti decides it’s time to get away from the alcohol.

Vanessa has something to tell Derek, interrupting his exciting talk about getting a job at the university. The school found out about their affair and made him resign back then. Derek feels like an idiot, trying to get a job from Red. Does Red still have feelings for her? Well, either way she doesn’t have feelings for him! Why’d she lie? Embarrassment. (Does anyone care about this storyline at all?) His response is: apparently you have no problem deceiving people. Really? It’s not like she is currently sleeping with him or something.

Breakdancing on a random street corner conveniently located outside of where they are. Marti of course knows them and pulls some tumbling moves. Savannah you are too drunk to attempt this safely, please don’t. They pull some lifts which are SO dangerous on concrete. (This is really the most absurd scene, the kind you only ever see in a bad dance movie. Theoretically, there isn’t even music playing.) Sure enough Savannah does attempt a basket toss but luckily Dan catches her. Louis meanwhile spots Alice with the Lancers quarterback, taking drugs. Alice tells him she doesn’t intend to hook up with him. Louis runs after them so she kisses him anyway. Which ends up leading to a bar fight. Savannah tries to break it up and gets thrown over. Which means Dan steps into the fray. (Party’s still going outside and Marti kinda looks like a moron.) But Savannah comes running for help in time to see the guys getting arrested. What do we do? Marti has no idea.

In the cell. Dan is worried about the fine. Louis could lose his scholarship for the Lancer Athletic Code of Conduct. They may be in jail all weekend. Louis used to play football. He loved it, but he quit for personal reasons that he doesn’t want to talk about. Why switch to cheerleading? He needed a scholarship. Plus. you get to look up girls’ skirts. We learn that where Dan comes from you’re only important if you jump into fights quickly. Red gets Jake out of jail and Jake takes the opportunity to tease him about being a cheerleader one more time.

Marti and Savannah are trying to help the boys and save Louis’s scholarship. They need a lawyer to get them out before they go into the system. They go to her professor, naturally, for help. When he shows up at the jail, he’s such a big deal that he clearly scares the officer on desk duty. (The case he’s making is that he’s holding Louis and Dan but not Jake.) Sure enough, the officer releases them without a charge.

Savannah apologizes for being so weird and for getting into the fight on her account. She impulsively jumps up and kisses him, which is cute. Then she gets sick and runs off. Louis makes sure not to let Dan see because Savannah would be upset.

Marti and the professor talk for a moment in which he imparts some House wisdom: everybody lies.

Derek is sore because he slept on the sofa so Vanessa gives him a massage. Derek has second doubts about moving in together. Vanessa insists no. She made a mistake. It was awful of her, Red had a wife (and she’s the reason they got divorced). Derek wants to know more about it.

Marti’s still worrying over her assignments when she talks to her mother who points out another student working on a private assignment. It’s the same one she has. She realizes it’s an impossible assignment intended to see how you deal with failure (Star Trek reference). She doesn’t do failure. So they concoct a plan to “kick some ass.” Basically they create a fake law case. Sure enough, this is like proper lawyer work and they’re in. (Who is the guy in star trek who passes it?)

Louis demands Alice give him the drugs. He warns her that trouble follows Jake. She takes his warnings as him caring about her. She ignores the warning of course and takes more pills. What are the side effects to these drugs? Did you check that?

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Undercovers: You’re a little too good at sexpionage

The first episode follows Steve and Samantha, retired agents who are re-activated in order to find a missing colleague. Now that the basic summary is out of the way…

Anyone else expect an explosion at the end of that opening chase scene? The best part of the moment was when the person being chased shoots a window to one side to divert the people chasing him and then went the other way. He probably would have gotten away if he hadn’t broken the glass to get inside.

Steve and Samantha are an instantly likable couple. It feels like we know them and they know each other extremely well. I like that they are a black couple on TV that the writers haven’t overemphasized their race. How often do they have a non-stereotypical black couple that doesn’t sound like they’ve come out of the ghetto on TV? I’m guessing the goal was to make them relate-able to a larger audience. I also like Samantha’s inept sister (especially the “are you feeding the dog?” asked while working to infiltrate the place where Leo is being held), I hope to see more of her.

When an agent shows up to reactivate the pair, Samantha asks the question that I find myself wondering “there must be active agents who haven’t been out of the field for five years who can help find Leo better than we can.” We don’t actually get an answer to the question which kind of annoys me since it’s a very valid point. Samantha being involved in the case years ago isn’t a good enough reason. Luckily the writers have anticipated this by later indicating that there is some secret reason about their reactivation.

We’re meant to think that there’s something missing in their marriage (“I can’t even remember the last time we danced”) but the truth is they seem like a great, if financially strapped, couple. (Even if they sleep at separate ends of the bed, which may just be because they’re thinking.) They even have a conversation about it near the end, but the truth is we don’t really see much to make me believe there’s been something off. If anything, it seems like they’ve got a great, if less exciting, life.

Ultimately they go back because it’s their friend missing (and Sam’s ex). Steve is apparently a legend. (Not much of one if she wasn’t aware of his awesomeness.) Do they become competitive/does she feel inferior because no one studied her case file in spy school? I imagine we’ll hear that she was pretty fantastic herself.

I much prefer Auggie as far as handlers go (though there is something cute in the way he idolizes Steve, making me think he’s rather green as a handler), but there’s something nice about having a pair of spies to work off of each other rather than alone like Annie Walker. I could also imagine them having issues working together and better with others (for example with Leo who they’re searching for), which could lead to entertaining drama. We do get some cute moments of them debating the best lock-pick.

Loving the gleeful way they run out of the bank after breaking in.

Boris Kodjoe (Steve) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Samantha) are fantastic. They pick up and drop accents easily and believably. Their chemistry is undeniable. And who else loves the fact that Samantha is fit, not skeletal? I can actually believe she’d be able to fight someone off or leap over a balcony. (Angelina Jolia, please take some lessons on what you should look like; rail thin is not believable for most of your roles.)

For a spy show, there is a surprisingly small amount of running and fighting involved. We get that chase scene in the beginning and then nothing until a half hour in. I like the emphasis being on them more than the action while still making sure we get some.

I would like to point out to all the cop and police shows that they’ve managed to make Samantha hot WITHOUT having her wear high heels. So much more realistic and practical than the women we tend to see on tv. I appreciate that small detail so immensely, as we come off a week of Beckett wearing heels in Castle and Annie always wearing heels when she shouldn’t be (those black and red ones are killer though–I hate wearing high heels and I would totally wear those).

Overall, I found it enjoyable. I didn’t have the issue with it that EW had, that it was too much fun and not enough else. I think it was a good lead in episode, with a bit of mystery (why are they being re-activated and given anything they want?), but I do agree that I hope (and expect, since it is JJ Abrams) there to be a bigger mythology coming at some point. I will agree that I’d like to see more of McCray, the guy who brought them back in. He’s the Casey (Chuck) of the show, but even more stoic and entertaining.

Outsourced

Todd gets back from manager training to find his entire department fired. He’s informed that he will be sent to India, where the call center he is to be managing is being outsourced. Among the regular crew is the sexy Aussie girl (love interest, at least for now since I think one of his Indian employees ultimately takes on that role), the abrupt tough-love American, the awkward Indian, the easily offended Indian (he walks out at even the remotest slight), the too shy for her own good Indian, the sex-obsessed Indian, the easily insulted Indian, and the overly ambitious Indian (among others). There isn’t really a particular character I found myself loving, other than maybe Todd himself, who was sort of charming but also sort of had a sad (if not at least somewhat accurate) view of American culture.

I didn’t think I would like this show in the slightest, mostly because I’m not the biggest fan of stereotype based jokes. The concern that the show was racist started long before it was on the air. With those concerns in mind, I was surprised to find myself not hating this pilot. Maybe not the funniest comedy out there, but at least it didn’t just make fun of foreign culture but also of American culture. I think it had a few funny moments but nothing so great that it’s worthy of the comedy block. (The Manmeet joke about the guy’s name was kind of lame.)

I’m willing to try it for a few weeks before deciding how I feel, but I hope it gets funnier in coming weeks. Right now shows like How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock, Modern Family, The Middle, and The Big Bang Theory easily outstrip it for top spot in my viewing list.

Disney Princesses and Gone with the Wind?

The designers are thrilled by the long amount of time and money they are given for this challenge. My immediate thought, of course, is what else will they be asked to make. Because never are the designers given a gift like that without a catch. Sure enough, Tim comes in to tell them they must make a second outfit to compliment their high end look. The designers are inexplicably shocked by this news. Guys, this is season seven! This isn’t exactly unheard of. In fact, had there been no second outfit, I would have been shocked. That being said, I do feel like it’s time someone told the producers that giving the designers such a small amount of time doesn’t really make the show exciting. If anything, it frustrates me that they never have enough time to actual execute their ideas. (Not to say there should never be challenges with time crunches, but must there always be one?) I also don’t like how little time they get with their models. Why can’t they have some time with them earlier on as well? (And why can’t they properly measure their new models on their own rather than just receive cards that never seem to be quite accurate anyway?) It’s funny to see how much Michael C and Gretchen loath each other. All they do is bash each other to the point where it’s hard to know who to trust. After such a lame showing last week, I’m at least hoping for a better runway showing this week. (The $20,000 prize and ad feature might have inspired them at least.)

It feels like April has finally hit her stride. I guess she learned after the awful diaper. She might want to watch all the black because it will get her in trouble in fashion week though.

Mondo’s look is interesting but his ready to wear look is SO plain. Couldn’t he have used colors at least?

Ivy’s dress looks like the prom dress Tim warned her about but I do like the colors. Her ready to wear look is a little better at least. Why is she here though? She’s not really put anything good out yet.

Michael C’s look is well fitted but the train is a bit of a train wreck. Ready to wear is stronger.

Christopher, what is that couture look exactly? Not sure the ready to wear look is really connected to the couture one, but it’s definitely the better look.

Gretchen, the looks it so OLD. She thinks it’s her best work ever but I’m with Michael C here. The ready to wear is equally sad.

Valerie’s isn’t as bad as she’s making it out to be though what is the connection with her ready to wear look which is sort of dull and not super flattering. (The more you see the white dress the less you like it though.)

Andy’s look is an experience. There’s no other way to describe it. Not sure I love the ruffles but it’s certainly got a point of view. Ready to wear is sort of basic but I could see Heidi in it.

Christopher and April are safe. I kind of though April would be in the top and Christopher in the bottom but the judges clearly didn’t agree. Ivy, Valerie, and Michael have the lowest scores. I’m a little surprised that Michael C is in the bottom but not surprised about Valerie and Ivy. Gretchen in the top is surprising though I expected Andy and Mondo up there.

Gretchen’s Critique- Kors thinks Gretchen’s couture look is ready to wear. He doesn’t like the hair though because it is costumey. Heidi likes the back best and wishes maybe it was the front. Garcia liked the makeup. Effortless look. (I really didn’t love this one…) Slits were “Heidi-high.”

Andy’s Critique- solid detailing. Kors like that the metallic isn’t so obvious and he loves the boot-pants. As does Nina. Heidi loves his craftsmanship but not the high fashion look. Plus it’s unique because it’s pants!

Mondo’s Critique- (got a kaleidoscope inspiration) Heidi loves the hat. Compliments on the makeup. Kors thinks the gown was too short and Nina thinks the fabric choice is inexpensive. Kors thinks the back is surprising and dreamy. Nina loves the color. Skilled at construction.

Ivy’s Critique- (Hawaii inspired) Kors thinks they look like bridesmaid under the sea. Nursey looking cut on top. (Watch out for dagger stares from Ivy.) Nina thinks she made her model look ancient. Heidi likes the back better but it’s messy.

Valerie’s Critique- (Audrey Hepburn inspired) unimaginitive and forced. Kors said it was too structured for such soft silks. Nina thinks it looks like Ms. Guatemala from a beauty pageant. She questions her taste. The only possible accessory she can use with the couture look is a wand. Valerie doesn’t even fight it.

Michael C’s Critique- he worked well with the fabric but the proportions need a lot of work. Choose boobs or legs for the cocktail dress! Kors thinks his skills were well done but the bottom of the hem (which I did not notice before) is weird and the train and style are Scarlet O’Hara-like. Dress is salvage-able at least.

The Winner…Mondo! (Which he earlier said he wanted for alcohol but really it’s to go into the bank account that had only $14.)

The Loser…(and this was a close race for most hideous…) Ivy. (It’s about time really.) For a moment there, I almost believed they would kick Valerie out too! Wouldn’t that have been exciting and shocking! They’ve never done an unannounced double elimination before.

All Together Now

If you’re anything like me, you are currently torn between two thoughts: “Yes! TV shows are back!” and “Must everything premiere at the same time!” I appreciate the CW more than ever right now for the simple fact that it started most (all?) of its shows last week while most are starting this week and next week. (I say most because the Apprentice and Survivor both premiered last week–there might have been a couple others too.) This way I had an actual opportunity to watch one without trying to decide what to skip. It’s only Tuesday night and already I’ve fallen behind. Holidays could not have fallen on a worse TV week…

Running Wilde– I actually kind of liked this but I can’t figure out why. There was nothing particularly great about it. Or even good. For a comedy, it wasn’t really funny. Maybe I just like Will Arnett and I’m glad to see Keri Russel–eternally Felicity for me–finally back (I really never got over that awful haircut, but this show may help–sad the curls are all gone). Arnett plays Steve, the selfish (spoiled rich kid) who has no direction in life. Felicity plays Emmy the poor, civil rights activist who got away. She’s taken her daughter Puddle (how can you think that’s a good idea?) to the rain forest to raise her with values, but Puddle hates it there and schemes with Steve to stay. So naturally, Emmy and Puddle come to live on Steve’s estate because Emmy thinks she can be a good influence on Steve. It almost feels like the show is aiming for sitcom but should really be a one hour romantic comedy. We’ll see how it goes after a couple of weeks but so far I’m not sure it’s going anywhere.

Raising Hope– zap2it.com says this show is very funny, but I don’t really agree. Maybe I just don’t find it funny to see people put babies in dangerous situations, but there just wasn’t much for me to laugh about. This one’s about a dysfunctional family helping raise 23-year-old screw up, Jimmy, to raise the baby daughter that is conceived from a one night stand after her mother is executed (for murder). It’s sort of a handful. Jimmy is basically an idiot and the first episode is spent with his mother trying to convince him to give the baby up (the baby was originally named “Princess Beyonce” but they wisely change that to Hope). The only aspect of the show that was a highlight was Sabrina (played by Shannon Woodward) as Jimmy’s love interest. She’s snarky, works at a grocery store, and passes the time rearranging the cans and drawing on the fruit, much to her boss’s chagrin. Maybe Fox should just stick to hour long shows.

Mike & Molly– this follows two overweight people who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. With how strong CBS’s other half hour comedies are, this one surprises me for how average it is. As EW says: “How long do you give a sitcom to get past a narrow premise and branch out into more diverse and arguably more interesting/funny storylines?” It’s a fair question. Fat jokes can only go so far. The main characters have a sweet dynamic but so far they aren’t the deepest, most complex characters. Not sure I’ll keep watching this one.

The Event– finally had a chance to check this show out. I keeping hearing that it’s the new Lost. It’s such a conspiracy heavy show (the conspiracy involves the government but goes over the head of the president) with a touch of sci-fi mystery. It is difficult to judge how good the show is, but so far it’s got me intrigued enough to keep watching. (I do love mythology heavy shows!) It’s also got a strong cast, including Laura Innes, Blair Underwood, Jason Ritter, Scott Patterson (it’s Luke!) and Zeljko Ivanek, among others.

Top Chef: Just Desserts– Maybe it’s just that the actual top chef is only hit or miss for me, but I didn’t find this all that great. At least in the regular top chef, the contestants can try to adjust their recipes based on how things go (and what messes they make) but here it feels like if you mess up near the beginning your done for the challenge so there’s less anticipation. Also, having the first challenge be essentially what the show cupcake wars is all about (make a cupcake from strange ingredients) it didn’t feel particularly unique.

Chase– well, the opening chase sequence (get it, it’s in the title!) didn’t really do anything for me. Criminal, if you were smart, you would have stayed hidden in the tunnel rather than jumped someone who is clearly trained to fight. Especially when they have a gun and you don’t. Looking at the list of actresses that they considered for Annie Frost, I’m glad they settled on Kelli Giddish. Can you imagine Christina Applegate in that role? (Apparently it was very important to get a blond for the role.) Ultimaely, it was just ok for me and probably not one that I’m going to watch. (I don’t really find that I like traditional cop shows, I usually like there to be a twist or out of place character. Think Bones, Castle, Psych…)

Hawaii 5-0– this one has too many grown men trying to talk like surfing teens. It’s just sad when a fifty year old (made up age) uses “brah.” I’m not sure how I feel about this one. Another one of those ok but not something I’ll be dying to see types. It’s missing the “what makes this unique” element. I know, Hawaii is awesome, but a showing being set there isn’t enough to make it stand out.

Shows I have yet to see (plus other new shows for this week):
Hawaii 5-0
Lonestar
Detroit 1-8-7
Mr Sunshine (did that actually start?)
Boardwalk Empire
The Defenders
Undercovers
$#*! My Dad Says (don’t have high hopes for this one)
Bluebloods
Outsourced